Watch the ‘Godfather of VR’ Ivan Sutherland Speak at the 2015 Proto Awards

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The 2015 Proto Awards are over for another year, and as attendees awake from their after-party hangovers, footage from the event is emerging. One of the biggest highlight this year was the surprise appearance of Ivan Sutherland who accepted a ‘Special Founders Award’. Sutherland is regarded as a virtual reality legend primarily for his work as inventor of one of the first ever VR headsets, the Sword of Damocles.

Way back in 1968, Ivan Sutherland – then an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard University, along with his student colleague Bob Sproull, engineered a new type of display, the VR and AR head mounted unit known as The Sword of Damocles. The unit was ungainly and extremely heavy, but it included a binocular display and head tracking, making it one of the earliest and oldest descendants of modern HMDs.

The Sword of Damocles AR/VR Headset
The Sword of Damocles AR/VR Headset

In 2015, virtual reality is on the brink of a huge revival, and at this pivotal moment in the technology’s history it was perhaps the perfect time to honour Sutherland as a true visionary.

At last night’s Proto Awards, that’s exactly what happened. Honoured with a ‘Special Founders Award’, the audience were delighted to see that Sutherland was there in person to accept the award and to give a short acceptance speech detailing a brief history of his life in technology and how virtual reality came to be. Sutherland received a standing ovation.

Thanks to the guys at Convrge for capturing this moment on video and sharing it.

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